Washington, DC 4

Monday we went to the Hirshhorn Modern Art museum. This is one Younger Kid specifically asked for. I was surprised, but went in with no expectations.

We started at the sculpture garden outside – sat next to creepy headless people, and ate ice cream. They watched us.

We also really liked these three:

Pretty awesome spider made out of strings or wires, thus less scary than a normal spider.

Miro, because of the amazing textures. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but the box is corrugated cardboard.

Typewriter eraser. Younger kid felt betrayed – both parents told him there’s no such thing.

White tree of Gondor (Younger Kid recognized it)

The Thinker – reminded me of the Black Rabbit from Watership Down

But our favorite was House I, by Lichtenstein. We did not make it spin, but the moment of going from thinking “it’s flat, but the illusion is that it’s 3D” to realizing that it is 3D was really great.

Hirshhorn was dark. Like an avalanche of gloom and terror.

Between the one spiky and beautiful globe of rainbows by Eliasson and the glorious prisms by Mary Bauermeister (above) was

  1. A funereal purple installation about consumerism killing the world https://hirshhorn.si.edu/exhibitions/john-akomfrah-purple/
  2. A deadly green film about the jungle (I wish I had photographed the leaves dripping paint) and the actor’s need to be constantly seen (a very sad and cynical riff on Socrates, but gloriously green, wet, and liquid)
  3. An exhibition of modern Chinese photography. I was most struck by a series of portraits of the artist’s parents (from revolution to old age, sickness, and death), a collage of hundreds of identical 3-people family photos, and a version of the traditional four seasons paintings (circle in a square with a branch and a bird) in which all birds have been messily killed. Keep in mind that I steered away from the scarier walls. https://hirshhorn.si.edu/exhibitions/a-window-suddenly-opens-contemporary-photography-in-china/
  4. A floor dedicated to an abstract Pickett’s Charge – chaos and violence in torn paper. https://hirshhorn.si.edu/exhibitions/mark-bradford-picketts-charge/
  5. An overwhelming, chaotic, complex and screaming black and white room about ravens, flood, absurdity, and inevitable destruction of the world, which may be a dream anyway.
  6. An exhibition centered on the pains and troubles of being a non-male artist
  7. A red white and black room about current politics and the world in general https://hirshhorn.si.edu/exhibitions/barbara-kruger-beliefdoubt/
  8. A desert-colored meditation by Dana Awartani about impermanence of home and memory. There was a mosaic tile, re-created with sand, on the floor, and a movie about the destruction of the same in an abandoned home in the village where her grandparents used to live before history happened, as it does. She made an immensely complicated pattern with colored sand in order to sweep it up, a melancholy mandala.

Therefore it’s not surprising that we went straight home afterwards, pausing only to admire a small enclosed and fragrant garden. What is surprising although it probably shouldn’t be is that Younger Kid paid careful attention to all of the above (esp. Dana Awartani’s film) and seemed to be thinking about it.

Washington, DC 2

Oddly enough the 30+ degree heat is not too bad, nor is the humidity. In fact, I could use a bit more of the latter – the grey rainy weather is wonderful. I’m not really enjoying the sun, but the rain this morning was wonderful.

There is a lot of greenery everywhere, and all of it is either blooming or fruiting. Hibiscus flowers are amazing irl.

The kids were still very jetlagged and unhappy because of lack of sleep, so did not take heat well. They did perk up for a bit when faced with a row of 20+ food trucks in front of the museum of Natural History, at least half of which were selling ice-cream and boba, but Younger’s ice-cream turned out to be yogurt, and Older was just plain miserable. So, we decided to skip walking the National Mall, and went to the Natural History museum. It was amazingly beautiful.

There are random unconnected areas. We went to Mammals (Older Kid), Cell Phones (accident), Butterflies (joint decision), Insects (while waiting for butterflies), and three gift shops (Younger kid). Gems were insanely crowded, we peeked in and went right out.

Mammals are mainly stuffed mammals, which excited Older and saddened Younger and myself.

My top three things about that section were the statue of the Earliest Mammalian Ancestor

The elephant family tree (I would love having something like this on the wall)

Insects were great, and I could’ve used more of them.

Overall, each section was too small, and none had enough explanations, but I may just be spoiled.

The butterfly garden was small, but very full of butterflies and fragnant. It will, however, have to be a separate post 🙂